Gluten & Dairy-Free Living. Info, recipes & experiences!

Posts tagged ‘weight loss’

Super Foods My Patootie!!!


Any time you connect to media – Any social media, radio, TV, the spam in your junk file – you are inundated with the wonders and cures of a “SUPER FOOD”! The ad (because that is what it is folks), goes on to list the numerous cures of this miracle Super food and cites studies, which are rarely specifically named, on how this food may cure cancer, diabetes or any number of diseases. Read … May …

Blueberries, ginger, turmeric, anti-oxidants, lemons, honey, cinnamon, gogi berries … the list goes on, ad nauseum and changes constantly. There is always a new super food that will cure everything, make you happy, make you look younger, cure a disease, help you lose weight and now the miracle ingredient is available in this powder form for your convenience! WooHoo … not.

THIS IS A super food: you planted it, tended to it, picked it when ripe and ate it fresh, that day. Now THAT is super! And it’s a food! Since most of us do not have the opportunity to have our own, diverse garden (read: veggies, fruit trees, berry bushes, etc.) and even for those that do, it is generally not year round, nor is it as diverse as we would like, we become denizens of our local grocery store and must forage through what is available and we wonder if we are making the right choices.

I am so sick and tired of reading all this bullshit on all media about this cure or that cure or how to lose weight if you buy this product or what you should never do/eat and … rants about Big Pharma … we need to remember that the natural health industry is also a billion dollar industry. People are in it to make money. In the case of “Big Pharma”, once you begin on a course of medication one pill leads to another and pretty soon you are not sure what you are taking and must consult a pharmacist to show you which pill to take when and with what and whether they are all working together for the good of your body. As for the health industry they are offering this cure for that disease, that cure for this disease, pills, cleanses, teas and the list goes on for a vast array of cure alls and weight loss products which without a complete lifestyle change – ie. exercise, diet, outlook on life, don’t deliver and are seldom beneficial for anything except making money for the seller.

Do I believe in healthy diets, mind, body, soul/spirit healing … YES! Do I believe holistic medicine is a great preventative tool? YES! Do I believe following a healthy diet can effect a cure for an already established disease. unfortunately, No. I DO believe following a healthy diet, resting, exercising, having fun/laughing/loving can lessen the symptoms of a disease, help get you back to being healthy faster and perhaps keep you off of or decrease the amount of your medications. For those that have a genetic predisposition to a disease, I believe being proactive by having good living habits will help keep the disease at bay or at least mitigate the severity.

DNA, genetics accounts for a lot of unexpected diseases. These can be mitigated with a healthy body, mind and spirit but not necessarily eradicated. Why bother then? Because your chances of survival are increased. Your time spent being ill is decreased. Better quality of life … if you like to be ambulatory and free of pain …

Fresh, whole foods do provide the nutrients your body requires and is built to use. Our body is an amazing machine which given the chance, regulates itself, detoxifies itself, pH balances itself and so much more. Yep. All it requires is the proper fuel; movement; rest; love and laughter. Your body is a part of a complex system encompassing your emotions and thought processes.

A healthy lifestyle, incorporating the mind, body and soul can keep you healthy and can minimize risk. If you are healthy in ALL three areas you have a better chance of fighting the disease and recognizing that something is wrong with your body, perhaps getting early treatment …

There is no magic pill. There is no surefire, instantaneous, miracle cure.

No one is here to solve YOUR health problems with a magic pill or potion! THAT is entirely up to you, to do the best you can with what you have. Research facts, read studies, stay away from marketing promises, commit to a lifestyle change and begin slowly. Small steps in the beginning lead to bigger strides once you develop your pace. Our health is our responsibility.

What there is the age old, simple advice … sleep, eat real foods, meditate/de-stress/relax, drink lots of pure water, socialize with friends and loved ones – be a part of a social network and get some exercise.

Mix it up. A little of this, a little of that … everything in moderation.

 

 

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Split Pea Soup on a Cold Winter Day – Easy and Filling


First winter back in the frozen north … and they told me it doesn’t snow here, where I chose to live … uh huh … warmest area in Canada …  oh sure … There are icicles on my car!
And so … the fireplace is on and I have 2 smoked pork hocks simmering on the stove. Smells like bacon cooking. I don’t know about you but I LOVE the smell of bacon and really LOVE eating it too! My comfort food – well, one of them. The love for bacon is so intense that I must limit myself to devouring a pound of bacon (yep, in one sitting), to a maximum of 4 times per year. Who can have just 3 slices? Not me!

Back to the pork hocks (bone in) … They are simmering with about a tablespoon of black peppercorns and six small bay leaves in 16 cups of water. If you’re making a pot of something, make a big pot! Whether it’s soup or stew or sauce, it doesn’t take up much more time and it freezes well for a quick dinner or lunch. Mine go into 4 cup, sealable, glass jars and are stacked in the freezer.
My apologies. Another digression … bear with me, please. Back to the soup.

My mom used to make the tastiest pea soup and she gave me the recipe. The miracle is that I managed to find it amongst all the papers in my storage locker! Here it is.

Mom’s recipe:
8 cups of water
2 bay leaves
6 – 8 peppercorns
1 lb. washed, split, dry green peas
1 large carrot – chopped
1 medium onion – diced
1 stalk of celery – diced
salt to taste
1 ham bone with some meat on it.
Toss all into a pot and simmer for 8 to 10 hours. Remove ham bone, take off meat and add back to soup. Remove bay leaves.

Really? That’s it? Doesn’t sound like much … definitely wouldn’t be enough to freeze … Hmmm …

And so … after a slight tweak … my recipe for a really big pot of soup:

1.7 Kilos (about 4 lbs of smoke pork hock)
6 smallish bay leaves
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
16 cups of purified water (Hate the chlorine taste in my soup. Yes, you can taste the difference!)
Simmer (on low heat – #3 on the dial) for 4 hours.
Let cool. Place in refrigerator. I don’t have the time to make this in one day. 🙂
Next day, remove pork hocks, skim off fat, fish for all the peppercorns and bay leaves or if you have another really big pot, use a sieve and pour the liquid/stock through. Separate the meat from the fat and bone. Dice up the tender morsels (must taste to be assured of the flavour). Add to stock.
6 – 8 carrots – depending on how much carrot you enjoy, keeping in mind this will make about 16 bowls of       soup.
3 – 4 stalks of celery (same tip as the carrots)
1 1/2 large onion
8 cloves of garlic
3 lbs of dried, split peas (washed up)
Chop up the veggies to the size you like. Add all the remaining ingredients into the stock. If the water has evaporated too much, add more (purified).
Do Not add any salt as the smoked pork hocks are salty enough. If you can’t find smoked hocks use a ham bone from the butcher.
Allow to boil and then lower to a simmer for about 1 hour or more, until the peas are mushy.

Make a nice salad. Some gluten free garlic bread. Enjoy!

Cool to slightly warm before placing in jars for the freezer. If you freeze this soup in smaller containers, it makes a delicious, warming, light and filling lunch to take to work!

After the holidays eating light and healthy is a relief for your digestive system and will help you to lose those holiday pounds! Soup and salad is heartwarming, tasty and filling, while being light and easy to digest. Just choose your salad dressing carefully! 🙂

Addendum to MC Veggie Puffs … :)


Well … I added 5 eggs (whipped), about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup of coconut flour (slowly – add a bit, mix … etc.), 1/4 cup quinoa flakes, 1 tsp. salt and for some reason I had the idea to add 1 tsp. of baking powder.

1st photo – the consistency you want to have – the wooden spoon stands up and you can make a definite hole in the mixture without any of it running in. Dryish not too dry. Still quite wet when you are rolling it but does stick together.
IMG_2469
You then proceed to roll them into little balls and flatten out a bit, placing into the pan with the coconut oil. Oven is at 350℃, ready to go. I made 48 in the second pan and 35 in the first – just jammed them a bit more in the second pan, (was getting tired of rolling!).
And here we are:

IMG_2471
Five are already missing … must do a taste test … 😉

They will be a perfect grab and go snack!
The rest – yes, there was MORE mix … I put into an 8 x 8 pyrex dish and it is cooking now. This is the one I will be sampling for the next few days!
Definitely a keeper recipe as they smell delicious, taste divine – puffy, spicy but not too much, just a hint of warmth and notes of curry and will go well with any number of dips/sauces or just a quick bite, straight out of the fridge when you are on the go.
Next time, I will reduce the amount of coconut flour and add mashed potato and cauliflower, see what the difference would be. When I do, I will let you all know!

These would go well with a Salsa Verde, Tsatsiki (made with Toffuti Sour Cream), or a Mango Chutney/Salsa.
Wine pairing: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Rosé, Beaujolais Nouveau.
Happy Cooking!

What’s happening in the kitchen today …


Having allergies and celiac disease, it is easy to blame every little DISorder on an improperly functioning immune system.

The latest:  my hands … constantly dry, splitting skin, chapped fingers … ugh!  Although I do have a dishwasher, many items used in cooking – pots, pans, crockery – are washed by hand.  My dry, chapped hands.  Finally I decided to buy gloves and place some hand cream in a prominent spot on the counter.  Foolishly thinking this would solve the problem.  I hate to admit it but the problem isn’t any immune problem or allergy, it’s me!  I like to feel things, a very tactile kind of person … always forget to wear gloves when gardening … forget or just don’t want to, not sure which.  In the kitchen I like to feel how hot the water is, if I am scrubbing every unseen bump on the pan … Whilst cooking, I am constantly washing my hands.  So, even though I bought a bright pink pair of rubber gloves and placed them right next to the sink … really, you can’t miss them … I always seem to “forget” to wear the darn things.  I do occasionally remember to apply the cream but then … I wash my hands again.  Do I have a “clean” problem?  Nope, just constantly have my hands in everything – squeezing lemons, chopping onions, washing meat … you know the drill … wipe the counter, wash the cloth, disinfect the cutting board, scrub the pan, clean the sink … If I can’t get into the habit of wearing those gloves – which just take away the “feeling” of cooking for me – I guess I will have to live with dry, chapped hands and nails!  Really … can’t wear gloves whilst chopping veggies or stirring some concoction in a pot on the stove.  Can’t wear gloves when writing down a recipe.  Can’t wear gloves when seasoning the food.  Put the gloves on, take the gloves off … it’s too much!

I know!  I need a sous chef … or a cleaner-upper … but I’d still have to wash my hands whilst cooking/creating a delicious meal, ’cause I gotta feel it in my hands!

If and when I find a solution to these dry, chapped hands of mine (and yes, I do slather them with olive oil every night, but…), I will let you know!  Enough ranting …

Meanwhile back to the kitchen …

Hmmm … what to make for dinner tonight?  Chicken?  Salmon?  Had beans yesterday, pork the day before … haven’t had Salmon in a while … Salmon it is!

Mmmm, with Saki, Sesame Oil, a drizzle of Tamari Sauce, Fresh Ginger – grated/sliced, Fresh Garlic, Black Pepper, a light sprinkle of Chili – for a little added heat.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°, fast, simple and Yummy!

Mmmmm!

Might pop a whole, scrubbed, washed & poked, Sweet Potato in with it.  There is a bit of Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower salad leftover from yesterday … Perfect!  Dinner will be ready soon!

Little Olive Oil, a squeeze of Lemon and a sprinkle of Black Pepper.

Happy Eating!

Simple Diet Plan


Where to start on the road to a healthier lifestyle?  Do you need to pay money?  Any special supplies?  Think it’s too much work?  Here are the answers to those questions!

First determine why you would like to change your eating habits.  Is it a newly diagnosed health issue, a desire to lose a few extra pounds, or just learning to eat healthier?  Keep reading!

Next determine when you are most hungry during the day and when you are most likely to snack.  A few days of keeping a “food diary” really helps with this.  Eat normally and write down EVERYTHING you ingest, including liquids (coffee, tea, juice, pop, etc.) and the time of day.  Are you a breakfast eater or do you have a coffee and run out the door?  Do you get ravenously hungry at 10:00 a.m.?  Sleepy at 3:00 p.m.?  Starving by 5:00 p.m.?  Snacking at 8:00 p.m.?  Now you can actually see when & what you eat and feel the rises and falls in your blood sugar levels.  We usually reach for a quick carb snack when our blood sugar level has dropped because we are tired and carbs give us that needed boost.  Learned behaviour?  Genetic/natural inclination?  I don’t know.  What I do know is; protein is a better choice as it will keep you going further, longer.  As are whole foods containing natural sugars/carbs – they take longer for your body to assimilate/digest, thereby providing a steady stream of energy, instead of a quick fix and the flop that follows from eating processed foods – chips, cookies, snack bars, donuts, muffins, etc.

To balance out your eating schedule, first do a short cleanse.  This will clean out all the “stuff” stuck inside and help to regulate your blood sugar levels.  Don’t buy a box, do it yourself using natural foods.  There is a post describing an easy cleanse on my Facebook Page …  Green Tea in the morning, a shake/smoothie/juice, a light meal consisting mainly of veggies with a bit of protein.  Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tablespoon first thing in the morning or the juice of a lemon stirred into 1/2 a glass of water with a pinch of cayenne.  During a cleanse it is best not to drink any coffee or alcohol, nor eat any dairy, processed foods or glutens.  This gives your body the time it needs to clean itself of any impurities.  If you can, do a cleanse once a month, your body will love it and show the love you are giving it!  More energy, bright eyes, clear skin, weight loss and much more!

More money or less?  You decide.  If you do not buy any processed foods, snack foods (junk foods), pop, specialty coffees – you will save money.  This money you are saving can make you healthier!  How?  Spend part of it on healthy, organic food, (not all food purchased has to be organic – see list below).  Buy a juicer and make your own healthy, natural, flavour packed, nutrient rich juice.

In the beginning it will seem like extra work – after all, it is much easier to open a bag of chips than it is to make houmous, or salsa, or guacamole … but the energy boost you receive from the latter choices will very quickly outweigh the apparent ease of the former choice.  Even better … you will lose the desire for greasy, salty foods … not altogether but at least on a daily basis!  In a very short space of time, you will become so adept at making these snacks and stocking them in your refrigerator that you will wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner.

List of Foods:

FOODS WITH THE LOWEST NUMBER HAVE THE MOST PESTICIDE CONTENT/RESIDUE

1.  Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines (imported)
7. Grapes (imported)
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/Collard Greens
13. Cilantro
14. Cucumbers
15. Grapes (domestic)
16. Cherries
17. Pears
18. Nectarines (domestic)
19. Hot Peppers (Chili, Jalapeño)
20. Green Beans (domestic)
21. Carrots
22. Plums (imported)
23. Blueberries (imported)
24. Raspberries
25. Green Beans (imported)
26. Summer Squash (Zucchini)
27. Oranges
28. Broccoli
29. Green Onions
30. Bananas
31. Cantaloupe
32. Honeydew Melon
33. Cauliflower
34. Tomatoes
35. Papaya
36. Cranberries
37. Plums (domestic)
38. Winter Squash
39. Mushrooms
40. Grapefruit
41. Sweet Potatoes
42. Watermelon
43. Cabbage
44. Kiwi
45. Cantaloupe (domestic)
46. Eggplant
47. Mangoes
48. Sweet Peas (frozen)
49. Asparagus
50. Avocado
51. Pineapples
52. Sweet Corn
53. Onions

From the EWG’s 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce TM

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

Valentine’s Day Menu!


This dinner will leave you feeling light, sated, relaxed and full of energy for the night ahead … The foods used for this menu are flavourful, nutritious and are said to have aphrodisiac qualities … Perfect for a romantic meal!

Watch the video!

Here’s what you will need:

1 Squash; either butternut or acorn
2 Halibut Fillets
8 Spears of Asparagus
1 Ripe Tomato
Salad Greens
1/2 Cup Dairy & Gluten-Free Chocolate Chips or Chunks
1/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries
2 Tbsp. Frozen Raspberries
Parsley or Fresh Basil
4 Scallions/Green Onions
1 Lemon
1 Orange
Balsamic OR Apple Cider Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spices/Herbs
Paprika
Cinnamon
Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper (or pimento)
Dry Mustard Powder
Thyme, Oregano OR Basil
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Vanilla

White Wine
3 oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. Amaretto

METHOD

1. Wash the squash on the outside and cut in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard.  Place cut side up on a pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.  Flip over so cut side is down.  Place in oven at 350° for approx. 45 minutes.  It is done when you can easily press it with a spoon.  Remove, scoop out “meat” and any liquid  remaining in pan, place in bowl and mash/whip until light and fluffy.

Cooked Butternut squash

2. Cut Tomato in half (not through stem part but through the middle).  Place in a small pan, cut side up.  Sprinkle a little water on the bottom of the pan – not on the tomato!  Place in oven with the squash for only 20 minutes.  Remove and set aside (still in pan!).

3.  Snap off woody ends of Asparagus and save in a freezer bag, (great for soup broth!).  Wash and lay in a pan – single layer.  Place in oven at the same time as the Halibut.

4.  Wash Halibut, arrange in a pyrex or corningware dish that just fits it – not too big of a dish.  Pour approx. 1/2 cup (or more) white wine over all.  Drizzle about 1 Tbsp. olive oil, sprinkle liberally with paprika and add a light dusting of mustard powder.  Chop up the parsley and green onions, sprinkle over each piece of fish.  Place in oven with asparagus when the squash is almost done (10 minutes of cooking time left).  Fish and asparagus will cook for approx. 20 minutes.

      

5. Before removing and mashing squash, add approx. 1 Tbsp. frozen raspberries to 2 Tbsp. olive oil in an ovenproof dish and set in oven for 2 – 3 minutes.  Arrange salad greens in a pretty bowl.  Remove raspberries from oven and mash – carefully, add at least 1 tsp. or more of thyme, basil or any herb you like, add 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt/pepper (if desired) and pour over salad greens just before serving.

6. Mash/whip the squash.

7.  Remove the asparagus and place in a serving dish, a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, shake of black pepper and a sprinkle of oregano or thyme.

A few slices of peppers added but not necessary!

8.  Place tomato on top rack, 4 inches from broiler.  Move halibut to very bottom rack.  Put broiler on high for 3 – 5 minutes – watching carefully, don’t want to burn the tomato halves, just brown them!  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little fresh garlic before or after cooking (or not), or a little pinch of salt & pepper.

9.  Serve!

This dinner takes less than an hour to prepare, from start to finish, which gives you time to set the scene and pamper yourself!

Dinner is served with the remaining wine – plenty to savour.  Dessert is served with a Blueberry Tea – in a cup or large brandy glass, pour 1 1/4 oz. Grand Marnier and 1/2 oz. Amaretto.  Add one slice of fresh orange – rind and all, and one cinnamon stick.  Pour orange flavoured tea slowly over the cinnamon stick.  I like to drink a bit and add more tea – keeping it warm and flavourful for a long lasting night cap!

Speaking of Dessert … 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks, 1/4 frozen blueberries (or fresh if available), 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier, a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and a small pinch of cayenne pepper.  All in a small pot, set on low until it all melts and blends together.  This can be poured over dairy-free ice-cream or a baked banana.  Make it the night before and spoon into small cups lined with parchment paper or muffin tin liners.  Leave to set and enjoy a lovely, soft, creamy, libido enhancing treat … Enjoy!  Chocolate mixed with pimento is a true aphrodisiac!

A small velvety smooth, soft, chocolate delight!

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